GEO-Logic: Stream Discharge Rates - Rappahannock River Station


GEOLogic questions are puzzles that were developed to support students understanding of geoscience concepts while challenging them to develop better logic and problem solving skills.
In this example, students are asked to convert measurements in cubic feet per hour (cfh) to cubic feet per second (cfs) and then match up the names of the researchers measuring the flows at the river station with the correct flow rate and the year in which it was taken. There is also a second part in which students must graph the different flow rates with time and then answer questions by interpreting the information in the graph.

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Learning Goals

  • To develop students' problem solving skills by requiring them to examine problems from multiple points of view
  • To expose students to real geologic data and common concepts and units (rates, distance, time, etc.)

Context for Use

This activity is appropriate for a high school science class or an introductory level undergraduate geoscience course. The activity can be given as an in class assignment or for homework.

Description and Teaching Materials

Teaching Notes and Tips

See the author's paper under Resources.


As long as the student makes a substantial effort towards solving the problem, they receive credit for the assignment. Alternatively, GEOLogic problems could be used as extra credit exercises which would be graded more rigorously.

References and Resources

Guertin, 2000 . Using Logic Problems in Introductory-Level Geoscience Courses to Develop Critical Reasoning and Basic Quantitative Skills, Journal of Geoscience Education, 48(4), 423.
- In this paper, the author describes the development and implementation of GEOLogic problems as well as her reasoning for the focus on logic problems and problem solving.